A former Hooters waitress is suing the well-known restaurant chain, claiming that she was forced to quit her job after the scar from her brain surgery made it too painful to wear a wig.
Sandra Lupo, a 27-year-old Missouri resident, had waitressed at a Clayton, Mo., Hooters since 2005, when she was diagnosed with a cranial mass last summer. Lupo received her manager’s blessing to take a leave of absence in order to deal with the mass, which required surgery.
However, when Lupo attempted to return to work, the Hooters regional manager in charge of her restaurant informed her that she would be required to wear a wig, according to court documents.
Lupo attempted to decline the manager’s request, stating that "she did not have a wig and that she could not afford a wig, as they range in cost between several hundred and several thousands of dollars,” her lawsuit claims. The manager made no attempt to pay for the wig.
Eventually, the 27-year-old plaintiff acquiesced, until she discovered that the wig irritated the wound from her brain surgery, which had yet to heal, the case states. Despite her ailment, Lupo was "forced to leave work because she could not wear the wig."
Next, Hooters reduced Lupo’s hours to the point that she had no choice but to quit the job, leaving her ineligible for unemployment benefits, the lawsuit alleges. She needed the job to put herself through nursing school, ABC News reports.
"[Lupo's] physical injury was an actual disability from her surgery which limited the major life activity of working when such work required a wig to be worn," court papers said.
The Missouri Human Rights Act is meant to act as a safeguard against workplace discrimination based on disability. Lupo’s case will attempt to prove that the wound from her brain surgery constitutes a disability.
In an email to the Huffington Post on Monday, Hooters spokesperson Scott Yates stated that the company denies Lupo’s accusations and "believes the lawsuit is without foundation."
You can read the court documents relating to Lupo’s case against Hooters below.